Tag Archives: plans

Best intentions and plans

5 Jan

With the help of three apps, I am trying to stick to my “newsolutions”, and I thought some of you might find this interesting as well, be it the new year or not.

Instead of going with the traditionals (more exercise, quit smoking, be a better person in general), I have made the resolution to make mor time for myself and my witching – figuring that this is completely selfless, as it will make the world a better place with less dead people. (NO, I have not killed anyone. But sometimes I wish I could. Don’t judge, we’ve all been there.)

  1. As I have not yet found the perfect spell to put more hours into the day, I must instead manage my time more wisely. Which brings me to my first app: It’s called Routines, how very boring, and it helps me break down my housekeeping tasks into daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks. If I stick to it, I do not have to spend more than thirty or at most forty minutes per day cleaning and organizing stuff on work days, and maybe an hour per day on weekends – and the place looks kind of inhabitable. Basically, Routines lets you create your own check lists. Some people may find it annoying that they have to come up with all their rhythms themselves, but I liked it, because I know best what I want cleaned how often (and I had a “Housekeeping made easy” book to help me determine on my routines). I try to make housekeeping time in the morning before I head towards the office, so I come back to a cleanish place and have the afternoon and evening for more important tasks. And every time I want to procrastinate, I can pick just another task from my lists which fits my procrastination window.
  2. Then there is Streaks, where you can manage things you want to (or think you should) do regularly. The app holds up to twelve tasks, you can choose an appropriate symbol for everything and determine whether you want to do it (several times) every day, on a certain weekday or once a week/month/… – you get the idea. Of course I could have put it into my “routines” app, but I definitely wanted to keep cleaning and the cool stuff separated, so I won’t get confused. So this app is for fun challenges, such as making time to meditate or play with the cats, practice the ukulele and brush up on my Dutch skills. The app records, as the name has probably already given away, how many days in a row I have done the fun things.
  3. And in order to meditate properly, I have splurged and gotten a full yearly subscription to Calm, an app with relaxing music, bedtime stories read to you by professionals, and guided meditations on various topics as well as a breathing exercise. I like the voices, and the speed of the meditations, and they regularly put up new content. The subscription is kind of expensive, but since I have been using it for quite some time, it is totally worth it. There is lots of content for free, if you want to try it out first, too.

Of course I am still at the experimental stage, but right now it feels as if by managing the tasks and fun activities, I am actually more refreshed – even after sleeping only five hours last night because I had to have cocktails with a friend before we went to the cinema, and then spent some time with the guy watching forensic documentaries while eating cheese. I have even felt the urge to *gasp* learn embroidery. We’ll see how it turns out in a few months, when the excitement wears off and the office becomes a pit of devastation for the summer months.

(Disclaimer: I also track my food intake and exercise output, but that is definitely just a means to an end and kind of obsessive instead of fun, and totally not necessary for just about everybody.)

(Another disclaimer: I do tend ot obsess about plans and to-do lists. It’s a quirk that only makes me so much more loveable.)

Do you have any favorite apps or tricks to help keep your life on track? And, by the way, do you know any good witchign apps? ^^


On work, gardening and general weirdness

19 Apr

I thought I’d share some general updates with you.

* I have invented a new game at the office. See, you probably know already that I work for an Arab Embassy, as a translator. Hence we always had to dress on the modest side – no visible shoulders, no cleavage, no leg above the knees. That was the deal when I signed my contract, and I was fine with that. In fact, business attire rather suits my curves. But then we got a new boss, and the rules slowly became stricter. And it is not that he wrote a new dress code and had it shown to everybody – no, if you dress in something he consideres unacceptable, he will let you know via his personal secretary, who has to tell you, “You know, your skirt is just a tad too short, he did not like it” or “Could you maybe show a little less skin tomorrow?” – or, his latest idea (concerning a conservative Muslima’s head scarf with silver applications), “I don’t like the sparkly design. Don’t wear it again.”

You want to know the game I invented? It’s called PISS OFF THE BOSS WITHOUT BREAKING THE DRESS CODE. I make sure I adhere by all the rules – long skirts, no tight pants, no cleavage, no shoulders – and make sure there is always at least one detail that will probably annoy him. My latest cou: I sewed myself a skirt.


Pretty, right? Here’s a close-up of the pattern:


Today I am wearing it with a simple black T-shirt with a high collar (and have an emergency skirt in my purse, in case I did not sew as well as I hope I did). I also bought a long flowery dress to be worn with a blouse or jacket andmake sure to have a good deal of colors about me most of the time – embroidered giant red flowers on the backside of my black dress and such. Call me petty or childish, but unless he gives us an offical (written) dress code, I am continuing with this game. Boosts my creativity, you know. ^^

Do you have any dress codes at work or other restrictions as to what you may/must do? How do you deal with it?

* Richard’s next project will most likely force him to stay away from home for five days per week, for a period of six weeks at last. We always knew that as a consultant he would have to travel at least some, but this will be the first time for us to be apart from each other for so long. One one hand I am looking forward to it – I get to make all the dinners he really does not like (such as lentils, or broccoli buttermilk soup) and can leave the TV switched off in the evening, I get to sleep and write when I want and can blast my music as loud as I want (or as loud as the neighbors will let me), but on the other hand… sleeping alone in the big bed, no one to talk to at the breakfast table, no one to snuggle with in the evening… we will most likely do skype and such, but it is not the same. Right now my plans include getting the household ready in time for the weekend, so we won’t have to waste time cleaning and grocery-ing on our two days spent together.

Anyone else out there living like this? Any suggestions or don’ts?

* Our balcony garden is coming along fine. Frosts have finally stopped, so this weekend I hope to put our plants outside. But first we need to do a quick trip to the store to get some more potting soil and growing support for the tomatoes. By now I know that I am a good gardener for tomatoes, bell peppers and radish, but the spring onions most likely won’t survive my care. The strawberries have not made up their mind yet, and the herbs have died, as usual. Lettuce worked fine last year, so I don’t worry too much about it (will start planting this weekend), and cucumbers and hokkaido – well, we need some adventures in our lives, right? Still not sure whether I really want to spend the money on a second tiny tree – the apple tree has returned and looks eager to grow some more, but I am not sure whether I want a columnar apple tree or a tiny cherry. Okay, probably a cherry tree, but not sure where to put it… questions on top of questions, you know. At least I know I will get some ready-grown herbs and try not to kill those.

What are your gardening projects doing? Anyone else with a brown thumb out there?

New Year’s decisions and plans

2 Jan

No, I do not do new year resolutions. Or at least not the usual kind.

One thing I love to do, however, at this time of the year is take a break from the usual race and look at what I have done, what I want to do and what I have to do in order to be able to do what I want to do. Confused? Right, that makes two. ^^

Health and weight are two important factors in my life. For one, one thing the media has achieved over the years is making every woman hate herself at least once in her life. I like to think that I am not one of the big self-haters, but some days I am less sure of that particular fact. Furthermore I am working in the health sector, as most of you probably know (medicla translator) and see first-hand what poor lifestyles can do to your body and mind.

But there is also the spiritual aspect. The human body is not meant to spend all his time on the sofa with a chocolate bar and a bag of chips. (That is what rainy Sundays are for, right?). It is a temple for the divine spark in all of us – and do I treat it as such? Well, I am trying. But just as I would not leave a physical temple full of candy wrappers and cigarette butts, I should not leave my body full of junk. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes junk is good for the soul, and I love to celebrate as much as the next guy, but it should not be the main ingredient of my physical journey. Since the goddess Diana has always played a role in my lief, I feel I am honoring her by treating myself well and trying to get and stay in shape. In good shape, taht is, as opposed to blob shape.

Now, instead of doing the, “I am going to lose three hundred pounds and run at least two marathons without drinking a single drop of beer this year” thing most people like to do, I first looked at what I did lat year, health-wise. I started out at an almost-healthy weight below 70kg (coming from 83.6kg three years ago) – and gained almost 10kg back over the last five months. I tried different approaches to food, none of which really resonated with my body. At one point I seriously injured my knee, but luckily that one has healed. Later I hurt my wrist, which is still trouble.  I ran a 5K and then almost completely dropped out of exercise, which was not only bad for my waist, but also for my mood. And my favorite general practitioner discovered (after I had told him so) that my thyroid is one lazy gland.

What can I do next to make sure I have the best shot at staying healthy, fit AND sane? For the coming days and months, I hope to mainly focus on the here and now and try to make the best decision under the given circumstances. I intend to ask myself, “Is this the best I can do for my body and soul right now?” This may require a lot of spontaneous grocery trips while I try to find out what I should eat and what not, but I think it is way better than deciding, “I am going Paleo/vegan*/low-carb/raw/…” and then trying to do the 180° turn without looking at what my body needs right that moment. This goes for food as much as for sleep and exercise.

Having that major chunk out of the way, spiritually I hope to find a healthy daily practice that can be incorporated into a day with what feels like 36 busy hours. A group of people I know wants to try and work through “The twelve wild swans”, and I may try to cooperate with them (unless I come to hate the book, which may or may not happen). I also want to celebrate more with my witch sisters (one of which is not my biological sister, but feels like my second half). Now that we have a car, that is possible more easily if I can make the time.

My job is just running along – I like my work but not my work place, and may switch if I see something better. But it also leaves me a lot of time for all of my other projects, at only 35 hours per week. I may try to get some additional training or brush up on my other languages, we will see.

And as a person – I intend to trust my emotions and not always be so understanding and nice. Actually, I fully intend to write more about this in a later post, but I don’t want to let it disappear between all the other rambling.

This may all look like New Year’s Resolutions, but in truth they are only plans that happen to be made on the first day of the new calender year. What are your plans and goals for the coming year?


* A physician suggested that, since my wrist does not heal on its own, I should try a mostly vegan diet to reduce inflammation. It worked at first, but ever since the pain has stayed about the same, and my body’s demand for animal protein kept groing (I hate most soy products, and there is only so much legumes you can eat). Now I try to incorporate as many vegetarian/vegan recipes into my life as possible, and follow the healthy cravings at the same time. I guess extremes are just not for me right now.